THE FAITH BAPTIST CHURCH OF ALTOONA COMMUNICATION CENTERPRESS RELEASESeptember 22, 2011
CAUTION NEEDS TO BE GIVEN REGARDING THE POTENTIAL
OF A CASINO COMING TO ALTOONA
A COMMENTARY BY DR. GARY G. DULL
Altoona, PA – It was recently announced about the possibility of a casino coming to the Altoona area in the near future. According to the report Altoona is one of three areas in Pennsylvania that is more suited for a “money-making” casino than the Philadelphia area or along the PA/Ohio border. It has been stated that revenue from established casinos greatly contribute to an economy and it has even been estimated that a casino in Altoona may bring in the neighborhood of $100 million a year to our area. I suppose that is possible and sounds good to an area that needs more revenue, but is it moral?
Over the years I have conducted various studies on the effect of gambling upon individuals and communities. To both an individual and a community, gambling potentially leads to increased blight, crime, drugs, prostitution, alcohol abuse, family destruction and the loss of jobs. Even though it may be true that a casino may bring millions of dollars into a community, the community may also have to put out millions of dollars for fighting crime, education on addiction, and recovery programs from illicit drug use and alcohol abuse. Do we really want to do that in Altoona? I think not!
A number of years ago I spoke at a conference of rescue mission directors where casinos had come into a certain city which for many years was a quiet family-oriented community. The director of the rescue mission of that particular town told me that before the casinos were built, his mission would have 8 to 10 people to care for each night. Shortly after the casinos were established, however, the number of individuals per night grew to over 100 and the crime, drugs and prostitution grew beyond imagination.
Do we really want that in Altoona? With the drug problem we now have, do we want more? With the crime we now face, do we want to see it expanded? With the blight our city fathers have been attempting to clean up, do we want to see more created? I really do not think so.
Therefore I encourage those who are concerned about the negative effects of a casino on a region to do the research and speak out on this matter sooner rather than later, before serious plans to bring a casino to Altoona become a reality. I further ask our city and county leaders, who have the responsibility to provide moral care for our region, to do the research on the effect gambling has on a community and by doing so, count the cost of having a casino in our town.
This is a time for those of us who love our area to stand up and speak out against an idea that could bring more harm than good to our region. This is the time to stop the consideration of a casino in Altoona. There is a lot of clean fun and industry that could be bought into Blair County with the proper endeavor that would in turn bring good revenue and moral people to Central PA. May the real focus be placed on that concept rather than on an idea that will cost many dollars to fix after it is established.
Dr. Gary G. Dull, Pastor
The Faith Baptist Church of Altoona, PA